I was reminiscing recently with some sangha members about sesshin food from the past, thinking about people who used to practice here, how we used to do this or that a little bit differently – the usual trip down memory lane.
Who stays? Who goes? What stays? What goes? What is this practice? This temple?
I found some pictures from Vesak 1998. The kids in the pictures (some of them mine) are now in their late teens and early twenties. The adults in the pictures are now greyer, with more lines in the face, more years on the chassis. The yard has changed. A good chunk of lawn is now a parking pad. Many of the bushes are long gone. The wood fence was in much better shape then (we need to start thinking about replacing it in a couple of years). The deck was in much better shape then, too (ditto for that as well).
But there are new people now, people with their own stories and kids and lives. We have pictures of them and their families at last year's Vesak, and in a decade or so, perhaps someone will wonder where they have gone. Perhaps they will be the ones wondering where the others have gone. (Hopefully the fence and deck that go in in the meantime will still look good.)
So tonight I commend all those who practiced here and have since moved on to the watchful eyes of the bodhisattvas. May they be at ease. May whatever merit they accrued while practicing here make their path easier for them now.
May we who remain also be at ease. May we hold true to our resolve and to the maintenance of the precepts.
And may this temple continue to flourish as a place of solid practice, a home to the Dharma.